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Richard sent in his garage door torsion spring replacement project – “Dangerous, illegal, or just the ultimate do-it-yourself project? They said it was a job for “professionals only”. They said you’d wind up in the emergency room, or worse. But I had the Web. I took the ultimate do-it-yourselfer’s risk. How I Replaced Deadly Garage Door Torsion Springs And lived to tell the tale. Warning: advanced theory sections could be applied to designing catapults and the like.”Link.


  • jswilson64

    Sorry, but I think this post should be pulled. This guy admits he has above-average knowledge, skills, and tools. Regardless of what he says, it is very dangerous to monkey with these springs. There’s no way to know whether you can handle it until it’s too late, and then you’re on a ladder, attempting to tame a powerful spring that’s either over your head or at face level. If you do it wrong, you can break a limb, get hit in the head with a flying steel bar, and/or fall off your ladder. It’s dangerous, awkward work, and there’s no way to learn how to do it because the garage door companies are rightly concerned about DIYers doing it.
    In my neighborhood, it cost about $130 to get my springs replaced. That’s one time I didn’t hesitate to crack the checkbook. Check around until you find a price you can live with, and live with it – that’s the point. If enough DIYers injure themselves attempting this repair, your homeowner’s quote will include questions about your garage door, along with questions about Rottweilers and Pit Bulls.

  • fxer

    Just working with a bandsaw is dangerous and people get hurt. It doesn’t mean we should censor discussions on the topic.

  • aplumb

    By that same logic, all references to automobile fixes’n’hacks should be pulled as well. After all, if you mess up replacing a tire on your car it’s not just your own life you’re putting in jeopardy.

  • Walt_S

    Thanks for this posting. About 5 years a go one of the springs on our door let go with a loud BANG! and I searched all over to find a source for the springs. Finaly I succumbed and paid a “professional” $150 to do it. He put in a spring that was considerably smaller than the original and insisted that it was a correct subitituion. NOT! He only replaced the one spring, unlike the hypothetical dealer in your post.

    I lived with the door opener making laboring sounds for about 6 months, and then invested about a dollar in some 1/2 inch steeel rod, and attempted to adjust the springs. The best I can get is to have a “neutral” weight in the middle of the travel. Below that the door falls of its own weight; above that point it rises due to the spring tension. I haven’t measured it, but I woul estimate the “out-of-balanceness” at being about ten pounds at either end.

    Your instructions are clear and well written. I don’t think that anyone with some mechanical ability and experience should have any problems following your instructions safely. True, as jswilson64 says above, there are a lot of what we used to call “Shoemaker mechanics” out there who can hurt themselves, but I believe those folks will find a way to hurt themselves one way or another anyway. I see no reason why an individual with reasonable skills and a healthy respect for the forces involved should not make this repair.

    One last comment about attempting to weld springs – DON’T! Any competent welder will know that the heat of welding will destroy the temper of the spring, and create a weak spot that will probably break as you are winding the spring the first time, or soon thereafter.

  • Walt_S

    Thanks for this posting. About 5 years a go one of the springs on our door let go with a loud BANG! and I searched all over to find a source for the springs. Finaly I succumbed and paid a “professional” $150 to do it. He put in a spring that was considerably smaller than the original and insisted that it was a correct subitituion. NOT! He only replaced the one spring, unlike the hypothetical dealer in your post.

    I lived with the door opener making laboring sounds for about 6 months, and then invested about a dollar in some 1/2 inch steeel rod, and attempted to adjust the springs. The best I can get is to have a “neutral” weight in the middle of the travel. Below that the door falls of its own weight; above that point it rises due to the spring tension. I haven’t measured it, but I woul estimate the “out-of-balanceness” at being about ten pounds at either end.

    Your instructions are clear and well written. I don’t think that anyone with some mechanical ability and experience should have any problems following your instructions safely. True, as jswilson64 says above, there are a lot of what we used to call “Shoemaker mechanics” out therr who can hurt themselves, but I believe those folks will find a way to hurt themselves one way or another anyway. I see no reason why an individual with reasonable skills and a healthy respect for the forces involved should not make this repair.

    One last comment about attempting to weld springs – DON’T! Any competent welder will know that the heat of welding will destroy the temper of the spring, and create a weak spot that will probably break as you are winding the spring the first time, or soon thereafter.

  • Walt_S

    Thanks for this posting. About 5 years a go one of the springs on our door let go with a loud BANG! and I searched all over to find a source for the springs. Finaly I succumbed and paid a “professional” $150 to do it. He put in a spring that was considerably smaller than the original and insisted that it was a correct subitituion. NOT! He only replaced the one spring, unlike the hypothetical dealer in your post.

    I lived with the door opener making laboring sounds for about 6 months, and then invested about a dollar in some 1/2 inch steeel rod, and attempted to adjust the springs. The best I can get is to have a “neutral” weight in the middle of the travel. Below that the door falls of its own weight; above that point it rises due to the spring tension. I haven’t measured it, but I woul estimate the “out-of-balanceness” at being about ten pounds at either end.

    Your instructions are clear and well written. I don’t think that anyone with some mechanical ability and experience should have any problems following your instructions safely. True, as jswilson64 says above, there are a lot of what we used to call “Shoemaker mechanics” out therr who can hurt themselves, but I believe those folks will find a way to hurt themselves one way or another anyway. I see no reason why an individual with reasonable skills and a healthy respect for the forces involved should not make this repair.

    One last comment about attempting to weld springs – DON’T! Any competent welder will know that the heat of welding will destroy the temper of the spring, and create a weak spot that will probably break as you are winding the spring the first time, or soon thereafter.

  • Walt_S

    Thanks for this posting. About 5 years a go one of the springs on our door let go with a loud BANG! and I searched all over to find a source for the springs. Finaly I succumbed and paid a “professional” $150 to do it. He put in a spring that was considerably smaller than the original and insisted that it was a correct subitituion. NOT! He only replaced the one spring, unlike the hypothetical dealer in your post.

    I lived with the door opener making laboring sounds for about 6 months, and then invested about a dollar in some 1/2 inch steeel rod, and attempted to adjust the springs. The best I can get is to have a “neutral” weight in the middle of the travel. Below that the door falls of its own weight; above that point it rises due to the spring tension. I haven’t measured it, but I woul estimate the “out-of-balanceness” at being about ten pounds at either end.

    Your instructions are clear and well written. I don’t think that anyone with some mechanical ability and experience should have any problems following your instructions safely. True, as jswilson64 says above, there are a lot of what we used to call “Shoemaker mechanics” out therr who can hurt themselves, but I believe those folks will find a way to hurt themselves one way or another anyway. I see no reason why an individual with reasonable skills and a healthy respect for the forces involved should not make this repair.

    One last comment about attempting to weld springs – DON’T! Any competent welder will know that the heat of welding will destroy the temper of the spring, and create a weak spot that will probably break as you are winding the spring the first time, or soon thereafter.

  • DIYGarage

    I will add my two cents to this topic. There’s much talk on the net from folks that can hardly change a light bulb to Engineers that are so smart it takes them 3-1/2 hours to complete this job. Matter of fact a certain engineer writes over 30 pages on how to install torsion springs and goes on in on about it. Wow! That’s some extra time I would like to have. My first attempt at this job took me 35 minutes and I’m far from an engineer. As far as how dangerous this job can be, well that depends on who is doing the install. I know plenty of accident proan installers that hurt themselves no matter what they do. I’ve watched installers and company owners with 50 years in the business up on uneven ladders, with tools, broken springs, buckets scattered all about. Then they cry when they fall and break something. I’ve also met and talked to thousands of my own customers that install these springs without a hitch. I know this because they call me back or email their success stories. If you have any doubts of your own abilities then I suggest you call someone out of the yellow pages. Notice I never mentioned professional. This is because I have customers that are better skilled garage door installers than most companies hire nowadays. Take your time, do your due diligence and shop for the best price. I’m here to answer all of your questions. 1-866-970-7278

    http://www.diygaragerepair.com
    Ask for Mike

  • markka

    I thouroughly read and re-read the instructions in “HOW TO – Replacing deadly garage door torsion springs,” ordered the replacement springs, and sucessfully completed the job in lesss than 2 hours. The installation time included a couple of coffee breaks to review the next step in the installation. I agree with Mike and Walt’s post; If you are comfortable with home repair projects,this is a walk in the park compared to others that I have done. If you’re the guy that has a couple of screwdrivers and an adjustable wrench sitting in a junk drawer, then this is definitely not the project for you. Thanks again for the excellent detail to safety as well as the possible pitfalls of the project.

  • Shadow99

    The how to sent in by Richard was thorough and well detailed. Even if it wasnt, use your own intelligence to decide if you want to follow it but never, never suggest censorship of this sort of thing!

    If you’re an idiot then you shouldnt try anything yourself, or read all the fantastic and freely available information on the internet. Why would anyone in their right mind suggest censorship of this type of material?? People have to quit trying to blame someone else for their stupidity and their decisions. I doubt if someone who isnt mechanically inclined and fairly intelligent would attempt this job. Maybe the not so smart people of the world shouldnt be allowed to drive, swim, eat, walk across the street, read? If you want censorship, go live in a communist country for awhile.

    I’ve replaced 2 springs on my door in the past 15 years. The 2nd spring, about 5 years ago was replaced when the door was up (secured and clamped) and the spring had no tension. It had to be stretched when installing it but I found that to be less difficult and alot safer. I havent had a problem since.

  • Doorman76

    I’m a veteran installer and service tech in the garage door industry, and while i’ll agree that there isn’t anything especially difficult about replacing these types of springs, they are dangerous to those that don’t know what they’re doing.

    I’m a firm believer it doing it myself when it comes to anything around my home, if at all possible, but when it comes to something that may hurt me …. I call someone who knows thier stuff.

    That being said, in addition to the danger of of death / injury related to these springs, one thing that i see being overlooked here is the fact that if they are not properly installed, it can cause damage to your door. There is a certain balance required for a garage door to have the proper function. And by proper function, i mean more than it just being able to move up and down. A few pointers ….. you should be able to move your door easily by hand, and let it go at any point in the opening, without having it drift more than a couple of inches in either direction. If it drops down, or flys up, your door isn’t balanced. This severly increases the wear on your door and drastically cuts it’s life span.

    I could go on and on about this, but i’ll simply say this. in order to maintain your door, be sure to lubricate your rollers and hinges regularly, with a lithium grease or a silicone based spray lube, and use rollers with bearings, not the cheap plastic type that are just rond wheels on the ends of steel shafts, and if you have a spring issue, think of the larger picture and call a professional. Go with a larger name such as Overhead Door, Clopey, or Wayne Dalton, over a mom and pop operation and you will usually get a much better result.

  • Mike

    “middle of the road”
    I find some people saying do and some saying don’t. I think for the majority changing a spring is just one of those projects that can be as dagerous as the next…changing a lightbulb can be dangerous if you stick your finger in the socket when the switch is on. So if you’re not afraid to get a little dirty and can follow basic instructions there is no reason a home owner cannot change their springs. But if you do not feel comfortable don’t put yourself in a position to get hurt…it isn’t worth the few dollars you would save.

  • Sammy

    I will be changing a spring for a friend soon. One thing I can’t understand is the jeft sping is much shorter than the right. The right one is the one that broke. Is this normal at all? The door is very old and heavy. I’m a millwright mechanic with good skills and I believe your instrucions are thorough to the point it should be retalitive easy task when done with precaution. I would like to know why there are 2 different springs though. Please email me if anyone can answer this at [email protected] .
    Thank you,
    Sammy

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    Learning a thing or two about simple home repairs help us to prevent further damage. Doing this also saves time and money. But for those serious repairs, it is important that we really know what we are doing or else we might end up spending more time and money in fixing further damages.
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    For homes built more than five or seven years ago, damages or problems start to occur especially if the owner is too busy to notice various cracks or rust. Thankfully, we have reliable sources such us to educate more about maintaining our homes.

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    Thanks to videos such as the one shown above, home and even business owners can now learn and understand doing simple repair jobs to save them time and money. It is important to learn how to do simple repairs or replacing parts so that we will also learn how to maintain them. Just do not forget to put safety first and be properly equipped to avoid any accidents.
    In relation to this, I read an article on home remodeling safety that can be of use to others at:

    http://www.millennialliving.com/content/be-safe-when-remodelling-your-home
    Paying attention is important so that you can notice if there are any leaks or old parts of your pipes or other parts of the house that needs repairs. Aside from that, the contractor that you hire for the remodeling or construction of your home should be capable and can explain every detail of the work that needs to be done.

  • http://www.citadelconstruction-houston.com Citadel Construction, LLC

    Thanks to videos such as the one shown above, home and even business owners can now learn and understand doing simple repair jobs to save them time and money. It is important to learn how to do simple repairs or replacing parts so that we will also learn how to maintain them. Just do not forget to put safety first and be properly equipped to avoid any accidents.
    In relation to this, I read an article on home remodeling safety that can be of use to others at:

    http://www.millennialliving.com/content/be-safe-when-remodelling-your-home
    Paying attention is important so that you can notice if there are any leaks or old parts of your pipes or other parts of the house that needs repairs. Aside from that, the contractor that you hire for the remodeling or construction of your home should be capable and can explain every detail of the work that needs to be done.

  • http://gravatar.com/makezine Chris

    If you want to SAVE MONEY … Here is out it works.

    Professional: Call them and set an appointment. They come out and in an hour its done – pay $150 for a set with a warranty on their work. Done, no mess, no fuss and I got to do things more worth my time.

    Do-it-yourdoofus: Search the internet for hours to find info (possibly wrong info mind you and not all garage doors are created equal), pay $50-$100 for a set of springs, then you have to have a ladder and some tools (about $50-$150) then you have to sit there for who knows how long and try not to kill yourself or break your door……………

    Yea, a professional sounded a lot better to me too.